Norah O'Donnell Works in Bob Woodward Book Plug in Mark Foley Story

In the midst of Day 3 the Today show's exhaustive coverage of Mark Foley, NBC's Norah O'Donnell actually shoe-horned in one more reference to Bob Woodward's State of Denial in her Foley story. Right before she concluded the set-up piece to Matt Lauer's interview with Joe Scarborough, O'Donnell referenced the Woodward book as yet another nail in the coffin for Republicans.

Norah O'Donnell: "Republicans are increasingly nervous that the Foley scandal raises questions about their credibility on moral values. Add to that the new book by Bob Woodward, State of Denial, that raises questions about another GOP strength, national security."

John Harwood, CNBC's chief Washington correspondent: "When you have a hailstorm of bad news like Republicans are suffering right now on Foley and on Iraq that puts the party in a very, very perilous state."

O'Donnell: "Because of Woodward's book Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice now admits, after first denying, that she did receive a CIA briefing about terror threats two months before the 9/11 attacks. And with Election Day looming, Republicans are on the defense, answering questions about their credibility on national security and moral values, once powerful assets for the party. For Today, Norah O'Donnell, NBC News, Washington."

The following is the complete transcript of O'Donnell's story in the 7am half hour from the October 4, Today show:

Matt Lauer: "Another big story we're covering this morning is the scandal surrounding former Congressman Mark Foley. As NBC's Norah O'Donnell reports with midterm elections less than five weeks away Republicans are scrambling to minimize the damage."

David Roth: "Mark Foley wants you to know that he is a gay man"

[On screen graphic: "Decision 2006, October Surprises for GOP."]

Norah O'Donnell: "In Florida another shocking twist in the Mark Foley case."

Roth: "He kept his shame to himself for almost 40 years. Between the ages of 13 and 15 he was molested by a clergyman."

O'Donnell: "Foley's attorney says it's no excuse for the congressman's sexually explicit messages with teenage boys in the congressional page program, messages now prompting an FBI investigation and a response from President Bush."

George W. Bush: "I was disgusted by the revelations."

O'Donnell: "The President also defended House Speaker Dennis Hastert, under fire for how he handled the Foley case."

Bush: "I know that he wants all the facts to come out."

O'Donnell: "But Democrats accuse Republicans of a cover-up and are using the Foley matter in this new campaign ad."

[Ad clip: "For over a year they knowingly ignored the welfare of children to protect their own power."]

O'Donnell: "And there are growing calls from conservatives for Hastert to answer key questions or step down."

Tony Perkins: "What did they do and what did they not do? Were they concerned or fearful of a backlash of, of approaching a known homosexual member of Congress out of fear of being called gay-bashers?"

O'Donnell: "There are discrepancies about what Hastert knew and when. He first told NBC News he learned of Foley's emails last Friday."

Rep. Dennis Hastert: "I have to say that I, I don't recall anybody telling me about them."

O'Donnell: "But Majority Leader John Boehner said he told Hastert this spring."

Rep. John Boehner: "I believe I talked to the Speaker and he told me it had been taken care of."

O'Donnell: "Republicans are increasingly nervous that the Foley scandal raises questions about their credibility on moral values. Add to that the new book by Bob Woodward, State of Denial, that raises questions about another GOP strength, national security."

John Harwood, CNBC: "When you have a hailstorm of bad news like Republicans are suffering right now on Foley and on Iraq that puts the party in a very, very perilous state."

O'Donnell: "Because of Woodward's book Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice now admits, after first denying, that she did receive a CIA briefing about terror threats two months before the 9/11 attacks. And with Election Day looming, Republicans are on the defense, answering questions about their credibility on national security and moral values, once powerful assets for the party. For Today, Norah O'Donnell, NBC News, Washington."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.